5.8/10
202
10 user 7 critic

Laura Smiles (2005)

R | | Drama | 24 April 2005 (USA)
The story of a woman's attempt to reinvent her life after a tragedy. It takes years, but the dark, dormant emotions find their way to the surface and her life spirals out of control. When ... See full summary »

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From $3.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
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Chris
Ted Hartley ...
Therapist
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Laura
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Mark
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Paul
Stephen Sowan ...
Billy
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Emperor
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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Waitress
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Accident Witness
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Storyline

The story of a woman's attempt to reinvent her life after a tragedy. It takes years, but the dark, dormant emotions find their way to the surface and her life spirals out of control. When all else fails, she runs to the only place that is safe...the past. Written by Jason Ruscio

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Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, language and brief violence | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

24 April 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La sonrisa de Laura  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,065 (USA) (27 July 2007)

Gross:

$2,065 (USA) (27 July 2007)
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User Reviews

 
Vivid Portrayal of Manic Depression
25 May 2005 | by (Queens, NY) – See all my reviews

"Laura Smiles" is an alarmingly effective portrait of a woman's mental breakdown.

We are introduced to "Laura" at her happiest time, in a warm, loving relationship with her fiancé (a very appealing Kip Pardue) in the city, literally the love of her life. In flashbacks, we then see the sweet development of this relationship out of order as these moments become brightly lit and colored memories that desperately intrude on her later in life, as she becomes consumed with guilt and remorse over his fate.

These feelings start to overwhelm her current life as a wife and mother. As something inconsequential in what she calls her "suburban drudgery" triggers the past -- in the supermarket, cooking, cleaning, at a school play-- she acts out increasingly aberrantly to counteract the feelings they generate, especially when she can no longer distinguish past from present from dreams, recalling Blanche Du Bois.

While writer/director Jason Ruscio said in Q & A at the Tribeca Film Festival that he was inspired by the break-up of his relationship with the lead actress Petra Wright, the film is the most vivid portrayal I've seen of manic depression. Whereas depression is usually portrayed in films simplistically as catatonia, as in "Off the Map," here we see her acting out, in ways that ended up losing the audience's sympathy for her. She is also set up in contrast to the men around her who are sympathetic or understandable, including Jonathan Silverman as a grief-stricken lover who can keep in touch with reality. Nor do the therapy sessions make her more sympathetic, as she lies to the shrink and then, frighteningly, the therapy doesn't even help her.

It becomes as painful for the audience as for her to recall her earlier happy life as she seems to leave the present for it, like a Jack Finney time travel story.

This is a raw, bleak "Desperate Housewives" without the humor or satire.


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